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Recorded in April 1928 in Ashland, Kentucky. Another banjo tune with lyrics that could be from any one of a number of tunes, and which have no apparent logical relationship with each other. This particular tune, which became a folkie staple during the Great Folk Scare, is related to tunes known as "Tempie," "Darling Where Have You Been So Long," "Sammie, Where Have You Been So Long," and "I Don't Like No Railroad Man." In "When We Were Good: The Folk Revival" Robert Cantwell says: "Listen to 'I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground' again and again, learn to play the banjo and sing it yourself over and over, study every printed version, squander your time in the bargain, and you still won't fathom it." He's right.
This audio is part of the collection: 78 RPMs & Cylinder Recordings
It also belongs to collection: Music, Arts & Culture
Artist/Composer: Bascom Lamar Lunsford
Date: 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Keywords: Music; Acoustic; Ballad; Country; Old-Time Appalachian; Banjo Tune; 78rpm
Subject: what beautiful music
I heard this song played on the Folk Sampler (npr radio) and loved it. It makes me happy to hear it.
This is a wonderful song. Although at first the title did not appeal to me, it's now one of my favorites.
I'm also intrigued by the word hippy, "hippy let your hair role down" in this song which was recorded in 1928.
Tom Joad -
Subject: Great song
This is a great little song and a fine rendition. I frequently sing a version of this with young children in schools in Manchester, UK.
Subject: Just great
Fantastic song here. His instrumentals, along with his fantastic delivery just makes for a whale of a great time. This I would'nt mind hearing more of.
Subject: Drink up your blood like wine.
"I don't like a railroad man
No, I don't like a railroad man
Thems a railroad man, they'll kill you when they can
And drink up your blood like wine"
Hard to wonder if this didn't seed the similar line in Bob Dylan's Stuck Inside of "Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again"
Dgold at AHT -
Subject: Where You Been So Long?
Here is a 2004 version of this tune, from the San Franscisco band Tea Leaf Green (it's Disc 1, track 3, in SHN format from the Live Music section of the Archive). The band's vocalist Trevor says he learned the song from a hobo. It's great to see a folk song in the traditional sense -- passed on from person to person -- which is still undergoing updates to this day as another singer takes up the task of wishing he's a mole in the ground...